Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Most annoying Betfair loss

Daily Result: £3.53

Strange how such a small loss can be so much more annoying than some of the much larger ones I've managed to rack up in the past. But today's just annoyed the shit out of me on several levels.

I guess the root of it all is the fact that I've had a pretty piss poor month. Bearly in profit the result is going to be markedly down on previous months. I realise I've traded a lot less this month, have suffered three pretty substantial drops, and so a profit of any type is better than a loss. Really though the one thing I'm very keen to do is to avoid my first losing month. So any loss at this stage is annoying.

I lost the £4 (sounds ludicrous I know but I'm bugged about it!) on the 4th ODI between South Africa and India. Won't go into the match itself suffice to say it followed almost exactly the pattern of the previous two completed games. South Africa batting first, struggling, recovering, making a decent total and then skittling India for an easy victory.

At the change of innings I was just over £100 green the pair. I'd been trading cautiously to ensure a big red was never possible and was pretty happy with the situation. Until I fucked up at the start of the Indian innings. I backed India, failed to lay in time (I was in a queue at my price) and they lost a wicket. No worries I thought. I'll let it run. Even if they lose another wicket I'll still be about level. A few overs without a wicket and I'll be back to where I was. Well I think you know where this is going - there was another wicket! So I dumped the position and was around £13 red the pair.

The Saffers price was very short by now so I just quickly messed around and got both sides back into a small green position and then just left it for the most part and just had the game on in the background. Basically I wasn't prepared to lose on the match.

Towards the end I was tempted back in. In all honesty India should have cruised this match. They were always up with the run rate - at least enough for it not to be a worry - but just kept tossing wickets away with suicidal run outs and bizarre shot selections.

Anyway, with South Africa at 1.01, India with 3 wickets left and and a required run rate of around 5.5 an over I decided to lay off my small South African green to create a hefty Indian green. It was less than £10 anyway and it wouldn't have been the most outrageous game of cricket if India got close to - or even made - the chase.

Somehow though I managed to overlay the South Africans. How I don't know. It's not exactly rocket science to work out what a lay of 1.01 is going to cost you. But miscalculate I did, didn't bother using the Betfair future position calculator, and layed. Which resulted in my paltry Saffers green turn into a £3.53 red! With no chance whatsover of making it green again as more wickets fell and the price remained at 1.01. :-(

So there you have it. From a moderate green to a small green to a red, via some arch stupidity and my inability to do my one times tables! A shocker. Which required the calming effect of a few evening pints!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turftrax Iris and late round up

Daily Result: £69.39

Apologies for not posting earlier but I had some sort of problem creating new articles in Blogger. Something to do with their switching to new software I guess. Anyway, it means the post is a day or so late and I've backdated it but all seems fine now.

Which is what Monday's daily result wasn't. I traded some cricket earlier in the day - more of which later - but in the afternoon decided to have a look in on the horses for the first time in ages. The reason is I have some new trading software that I want to try out, namely the Sports Trading Workstation. (There's a free version of the STW available if you fancy a look).

More particularly I'm interested in finally having a go with the Turftrax Iris piece of software provided by the STW people. I'll write up more about it later but basically it gives you a visual representation of how horses are doing in a race. Each horse has a transmitter on it recording speed etc and this is relayed to you in picture form showing you which horse are speeding up / slowing down, enabling you to back or lay with a single click before it may become apparent from tv pictures. Loads of extra information is also provided, including an indicator as to which horse is likely to win given the change in speeds and distance left to cover. I guess the tool is useful to both layers looking to make money from horses dropping out of the running, as well as those looking for an early steer on the most likely horse to win. Anyway, there's more information and some videos of someone using it on the site for anyone interested.

The point is before I started using new software I thought it would make sense to get used to a bit of racing trading again. Bit of re-baptism of fire. Lost on the first race, won on the second, and had a momentary power cut in the third. Everything on and off for a second job. No worries as I just rebooted but in that time the market had moved somewhat against me so I closed out. And then in trying to reduce that loss added to it! The third race cost me a fair amount and given the circumstances I figured it was probably best not to risk continuing trading and just left it for the day.

Earlier on I'd finally signed up to ARY digital so I could receive pictures for the Pakistan v West Indies series. The Sharp Minds :-) out there might remember I'd not signed up before mainly because they required a minimum 1 year subscription. Anyway, it turns out there is now a way of getting it for just 2 months. So I shelled out the £35 odd to get it and looked into the 3rd test. Will probably have a proper look on days 4 and 5 but am mainly hoping to profit from the subsequent ODIs.

Finally I had to smile. I have a tracking program that shows me how many visitors I get to the blog and how they arrive at the site. Had my strangest ever referral the other day. Someone typed into Google the search phrase "Every time I shag your wife she gives me a biscuit". And low and behold arrived at my lowly blog as I listed no.4 for that search phrase!! Thanks to whoever left the comment that included the phrase. :-)

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Trading Tip - identifying free lays

Ok, so it's hardly the revelation of the century. And is a well used principle by many. But after mentioning free lays a few times, and discussing an example on the Betfair cricket forum the other day, I've had an email asking me to explain what I mean by a free lay, why they're valuable and how to identify them. So although I realise many are well aware of all this I thought I'd answer the email anyway.

Firstly, just to be clear, by free lay I do not mean free money in the way the Free Money and Bank of Federer etc merchants bang on about. I think I've made my views on the free money threads clear! However, as a trader, I guess identifying free lays is the next best thing!

What is a free lay?
Very simply it's an opportunity to make a good, sometimes huge profit, for no, or more usually a very limited, downside. So it's about identifying a situation where all the real value at the time of the trade is in laying a person / team rather than backing them - irrespective of who you think might eventually win the event.

Free Lay example
Perhaps its best to illustrate with an example so I'll use the one I mentioned on the Betfair cricket forum the other day. (I'm bf trader on the forum by the way - don't be shy to say hello!) The opportunity sprung up in the 2nd ODI between South Africa and India. I ended up laying South Africa, even though I believed they'd win, and this was my thought process.

South Africa had got off to an ok start and had lost their second wicket in the 10th over with 47 runs on the board. Their price spiked on the wicket before eventually dropping back to around 1.4ish when they were around 58 for 2.

This was the point where I layed South Africa for £500. My reasoning came from answering two questions.

1) What was their likely innings score?
2) What was their likely price if they reached that score?

The answer to 1) was I thought they'd do well to make 250. A view backed up by the spread firms whose total innings runs quotes are useful to keep an eye on. The answer to 2) is open to debate. I put it at around 1.35ish. Others who had a guess on the forum had it, from memory, between 1.32 and 1.4.

So effectively my downside was very limited. Even if the South Africans did as well as could be generally expected I was looking at a maximum loss of maybe 8 ticks. And a loss is unrealistic anyway, as give me a wicket in the next 10-15 overs, and I can trade out for a profit if I choose to.

My upside however was much larger. The South Africans could collapse. Or lose a few quick wickets. Or perhaps only make 210 etc. All these scenarios favour me hugely. And although getting involved in such situations doesn't always pay off, for such a limited risk, for such a potentially big win, I'm having some of it.

So what happened?
The free lay paid off. Gibbs was out in the 16th over, the South African's were 63/3 and their price went out to 1.59/1.6. That left me with an instant 19 tick profit on the trade if I closed out immediately. Which equates to £95 if i left it on South Africa, or £62 each if I spread it across both South Africa and India.

So I'm now in a position where I can take that green or let it run for a bit. The thinking behind the latter is if the price falls to say 1.54 I'll take my profit. But why not let the trade run for a little longer, see if the next batsmen gets out early before he's played himself in - and if he does we're not going to be too far from evens the pair and a 50/60 tick profit. Which wouldn't be bad at all for what was looking at most like a potential 8 tick loss and was never likely to result in a loss at all. Of course, every now and then the team you've layed will collapse. And if you don't close your whole trade out, you're left with a big profit - still all from that initial 8 tick risk. (Btw, the Saffers eventually made 248 and their price was low to mid 1.3x at the change of innings.)

Identifying free lay situations
I guess this is the hardest part. Though for anyone with a good knowledge of the sport they're trading - and they do, of course, crop up in all kinds of sports and markets - experience should be enough to spot them if you actively look for them. Obviously, not every lay is a free lay. It's all about reading the game, assessing likelihoods and predicting likely prices. If you can do that you can spot free lay situations.

Looking for such opportunities is something I, and no doubt thousands of other traders, do constantly when trading. As well as all the usual stuff I'm doing during a game I know finding a good situation can be very profitable. And can turn a small win into a much larger one. So the free lay principle is a useful technique in the armoury of the trader and it's well worth keeping your eyes open for favourable situations.

Happy hunting!

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

A cricket world record and a win

Daily Result: £229.62

Well, after a record three losing days in a row I guess I was due a winning one. And thankfully today's South Africa v India ODI helped get me back into profit for the month.

Unfortunately, after a few beers and a late night I'd struggled to get up was still switching my computers on in the first over. Missed a lovely 60+ tick swing as South Africa lost two wickets and drifted from 1.4x to 2.0x. There's a lesson in there somewhere!

Things didn't really get much better for the Saffers either and by the time they'd been reduced to 76 for 6 the Indians must have been fancying their chances. But they reckoned without Justin Kemp. Now anyone who follows cricket knows Kemp can hit the ball. But his innings today was awesome. With South Africa in deep trouble he came in, batted sensibly and solidly to get the innings back on track before unleashing a spectacular power hitting display to make his maiden ODI century off just 89 balls.

Ably supported by Andrew Hall at the other end (56 not out) the pair put on a world record ODI 8th wicket partnership with an unbeaten 138 - sailing past the previous record of 119. It was fantastic viewing and left India needing 275 to win. Nice to see both Hall reach his 50, and Kemp his century, in the last over.

A couple of quick wickets in the Indian innings and it was virtually match over. Dravid and Dhoni put up some resistance, but with the exception of a short spell where Dhoni was knocking it around before he was out, the required run rate was always rising and in the end the Indian batting once again failed in the face of a decent seam attack and a ball coming on to the bat. Their 168 all out was better the 91 they managed last time but was still well short of troubling the Saffers' score.

Made around £220 on the match. The other few quid came from me messing around with a few pound (literally) on the 1st Ashes test for a few minutes the other night and a quick dip into some NFL. I used to watch a lot of NFL and know it would be a great sport for me trade and would nicely fill the trading gap I've had recently. It's just the time it's on puts me off. Still, have been watching some in running markets for a while now and may start playing it a little more seriously when the opportunity arises.

For the time being it's just good to be back to winning ways anyway. And back into profit for the month!

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Biggest Betfair loss ever

OK. Well I doubt the punter who lost £237,000 in one bet recently is the poor sod who holds the unenviable title of biggest Betfair loss ever. But I wouldn't mind a small punt his £237k loss is the biggest accidental fuck up. You see, our unfortunate friend layed at 1000, perhaps instead of backing it. And in the flash of an eye wiped nearly quarter of a million quid from his account. Doh!

Our man met his Waterloo in the 7.30 at Wolverhampton on November 18. By all accounts he either intended to place a bet at 1000 (999/1) on the pre race favourite Peregrine Falcon. Or more likely was lining up a lay of 1000 and submitted it too early. Whatever, he definitely did his bollocks to the tune of £237k and left 3 other bemused Betfair punters staring at their onscreen balances wondering what the hell was going on. One of them made a staggering £214,000 from the mistake.

Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin said: "It looks as if the layer simply made a mistake, as all prices matched have to be confirmed before they are traded.

"The only alternative I could imagine is that the layer was using an automatic trading system, and that there was some kind of problem with it.

"Nothing untoward is considered to have taken place, other than a genuine error on someone's part."

Well I guess anyone who can accidentally lose nearly a quarter of a million pounds that is laying around in their Betfair account can afford to. But it's got to hurt. And then some. Going to take a while to claw that lot back!

Anyway, of course attention on the Betfair horse racing forum turned swiftly to the identity of the big loser. Warwick Hunt, the big banked in running 1.01 er was an early favourite having fessed up to big losses in the past. But it appears he's not our man this time.

However, he did post a great video link about the loss. All about forumite Alf Hukker. (Geddit? For both the names?!) Now I barely read the Betfair horse racing forum and don't pretend to know or understand all the shenanigans, wind ups and private jokes on it but I always thought these were the same guy?! What the fuck do I know though. Alf Hukker says it wasn't him that lost and makes another suggestion in a thread all about it on the racing forum. Whatever the truth, whoever did their bollocks, the video is well worth a watch anyway.

Quality stuff I'm sure you'll agree! Anyway, I guess the serious Betfair players all know the identity of the £237k loser. Something that a small timer like myself will just have to wonder about.

Either way it puts my recent losses into perspective and makes me feel a whole lot better about them!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Poor trading leads to landmark loss

Daily Result: £276.06

Bollocks! An unhealthy loss today. And unlike earlier losses this month I am a little annoyed with this one as, despite a good start, I ended up trading awfully. So badly that for the first time in a very long time, and certainly since I started the blog, I've now had three losing trading days in a row. A bit of a landmark I'd hoped to avoid to be honest. And one which I guess means I've hit a bad patch! Making it doubly annoying is the fact I could have quit ahead today and didn't realise until too late that a loss would have made 3 in a row. :-(

The irony is today started really well. I've hardly traded at all recently and as the South Africa v India ODI started I felt fresh and enthusiastic. On the ball. Was identifying good opportunites in the early stages of the South African innings and taking advantage. (I'll discuss one of these as a detailed example in a future post). Things were going well and I was in a position where I could be nearly £100 green the pair.

I wrote a lot of notes for this game and it's clear to see where I went wrong. The loss of the big two, Tendulkar and Dravid, in 3 balls in the Indian run chase is what finally did me. That's where my chances of a profit for the day ended. But I was already in a dodgy position by then and rather than run through all the mistakes the wider picture is clearly that I just got involved too much today. Was too keen. Was opening positions to try and nick a few ticks for the sake of it where I should have perhaps just been watching.

I've noticed a few times recently that players / teams I fancy to win have won comfortably and yet I've lost money. Today was another case in hand. India's away form is woeful. The ball was clearly going to run on to the batsmen and Sehwag was out injured. And just incase the message wasn't clear enough the South Africa odds were 1.4x before a ball had been bowled. I knew all this and fancied the Saffers to win comfortably. They did and yet I lost nearly £300 - despite being comfortably green earlier in the match.

My conclusion, and something I've been wondering about for a while, is I just tried to get too cute. Be too clever on some of my trades. Try and squeeze a few quid too many out of the market. When really all that was needed was more of the same. Good solid, run of the mill, trading practices. I'm all for trying new ideas out, and I do all the time, but today I just got it very wrong. And then when it did start going tits up I failed to react in time. Though it was really those two wickets in three balls that cost me there. A little unfortunate maybe but a good trader should always be taking into account the old adage about adding two wickets to the score and today I didn't.

Anyway, just to compound the loss when it was clear the game was the South Africans, and they were trading in the 1.0x range, I layed them, adding nearly £100 more red to my position on them hoping for a mini-Indian recovery and a reduced red. A profitable move sometimes but with the main Indian wickets down, and well on the way to be skittled for 91, today was not the day to try it. Though by then I think I may have even been guilty of a little chasing having realised a loss would make it 3 losing days in a row.

So a good start to the day turned into a bit of a disaster. I tried to get too clever, was getting tired and losing concentration towards the end and then, on realising a loss would make it three days in a row was even maybe guilty of the cardinal sin of chasing. Not the best days trading then. But I'll put it behind me, learn from it, and be fresh and alert for the next game on Sunday.

And anyway, I can hardly be too down. The Ashes starts in a few hours and although I'm not going to trade it I'm going to watch the start. Come on England!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quick catch up

So I ended up going away for the weekend with Emma and didn't get round to any trading at all. Still, I did manage to fit in some prolonged crack bar fly drinking practice for the upcoming festive season instead so all was not lost :-)

What with two biggish losses this month (1, 2), a heavy work load and not the largest amount of tennis and cricket to trade it's looking like it may be a pretty sparse one on the profit front compared to previous months. But I figure as long I end the month up that's the important thing. Every pound helps.

Looking forward to upcoming events until the end of the month there are a few things that I'll probably get involved with. Sadly the Ashes is probably not one of them. If I was a full time trader on Betfair then no doubt I'd be burning the candle both ends and sinking tinnies through the night trading the 1st test. But I'll probably give the whole thing a miss. Maybe have a little play with the draw price and check out the increased delay with the Australian wallet but I certainly won't be staying up 5 nights to trade the whole thing. Expect I'll do the one dayers in the new year though.

I didn't subscribe to ARY either for the Pakistan v West Indies series. Minimum subscription period of a year which clocked in at £100. If they'd done me a month on month I'd have taken two but just didn't like being forced to subscribe for a year. Bit cut your nose of to spite your face but I'm pretty busy at the moment and there's other cricket on for free on Sky. So I don't have pics for the series and won't be betting.

Which all means until the end of the month I'll be looking on the remaining one dayers between South Africa and India on Sky (22, 26 and 29 with the last one in December) and maybe even take a dip into the Premier League snooker on the 23. Looking into December there's some Davis Cup ties at the start, a little more snooker, the final South Africa v India one dayer and then the test series.

So it won't be the busiest trading period over the next few weeks but hopefully there will be enough events to save a little more before everything picks up again in the new year.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cricket, The Ashes and sledging

Several chill pills later and after yesterday's little rant I'm ready to lighten the mood a little with a preview of the forthcoming Ashes. Or, more specifically, a preview of the sledging fest we can look forward to once the teams take to the pitch Down Under. :-)

Sledging is the not so noble cricket art of insulting the opposition in a bid to destroy their confidence and self esteem. The Aussies are past-masters, and the acknowledged King of the Sledgers is former fast bowler Merv Hughes. Though for someone who managed to sink 58 tinnies on a flight from Australia to England in 1989 his mastery should perhaps shock noone. Even if his moustache still does.

So as it's now a week to go till the Ashes start, and I didn't get round to trading today, I've dug out an old article about sledging and have pulled together a collection of the best sledges from former Ashes series...

Player to Player
"If we don't beat you we'll knock your bloody heads off."
- Short and to the point. Bill Voce to Aussie Vic Richardson in the 1932 Bodyline series.

"Hospital food suit you?"
- Craig McDermott makes a friendly enquiry of Phil Tufnell, 1991.

"Mate, if you just turn the bat over you'll find the instructions on the other side."
- A helpful Merv Hughes to Robin Smith, 1989.

"So how's your wife and my kids?"
- Rodney Marsh welcoming Ian Botham to the crease.

"What do you think this is, a f***ing tea party? No you can't have a f***ing glass of water, you can f***ing wait like the rest of us"
- Aussie captain Allan Border to batsman Robin Smith who had the outrageous nerve to ask for a drink at Trentbridge, 1989.

"Hell, Gatt, move out of the way, I can't see the stumps"
- Dennis Lillee to the portly Mike Gatting, 1994.

"What does your husband do when he is not watching you play cricket?"
- Merv Hughes to Graeme Hick, 1993. Hick was out next ball after facing a barrage of bouncers.

"F**k me. What are you doing here? There's no way you're good enough to play for England."
- Welcome to the game! Mark Waugh to Jimmy Ormond on the latter's Ashes debut, 2001.

"At least I'm the best player in my family."
- Ormond's reply!

"Who's this then? Father bloody Christmas?"
- Jeff Thomson to David Steele as he walked out to bat on debut, 1975.

"Who's this four-eyed git? Knock his glasses off."
- Aussie fielder to the bespactled Geoff Boycott on his test debut, 1964.

"You can't f*cking bat"
- Merv Hughes to Robin Smith, after Smith played and missed again, 1989.

"Hey Merv, we make a fine pair. I can't f*cking bat and you can't f*cking bowl".
- Smith's reply after despatching a ball to the boundary.

"He snarled at me constantly through his ludicrous moustache. He was all bristle and bullshit and I couldn't make out what he was saying except that every sledge ended with 'arsewipe'."
-Former England captial Mike Atherton recalls playing with Merv Hughes.

"A six-foot, blond-haired beach bum bowling at 90mph trying to knock your head off and then telling you you're a feeble-minded tosser... where's the problem?"
- Atherton tones it down to explain what it's like to face a barrage of bouncers and abuse from Aussie pace man Glenn McGrath, 2001.

"I think I was saying 3-0 or 4-0 about 12 months ago, thinking there might be a bit of rain around. But with the weather as it is at the moment, I have to say 5-0."
- Glenn Mcgrath looking forward to the 2005 Ashes series. After filling up on humble pie he's repeated the prediction for the 2006/7 series.

Crowd to players
Not content with watching the action it seems some spectators like to get stuck into the sledging too:

"Tufnell! Can I borrow your brain? I'm building an idiot."
- Aussie to Phil Tufnell during the 1994/5 Ashes series.

"Don't give the bastard a drink. Let him die of thirst."
- Douglas Jardine recalls his favourite spectator intervention from the 1932/3 Bodyline series.

" A cricket tour in Australia would be the most delightful period in your life ... if you were deaf."
- England bodyline bowler Harold Larwood hints he may be taking some spectator abuse!

"Come on Brearley, for God's sake! You make Denness look like Don Bradman."
-Aussie spectator letting Mike Brearley know what he thinks of his batting in the 78/79 Ashes series.

"We will win... because Shane Warne's too fat; Mark Waugh's too old..."
- England fan on trailer for Channel 4's coverage of the 2001 Ashes tour.

The Media
Never shy to put the boot in hacks don't hesitate to get in on the action too:

"All the never-say-die qualities of a kamikaze pilot."
- An Aussie journalist gives his considered opinion of English cricket in the 1990's.

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if Thomson don't get ya, Lillee must."
Sydney Telegraph cartoon, 1975

"The Australian side has more carthorses than a Victorian mailcoach."
- Peter Roebuck, 2005

"The traditional dress of the Australian cricketer is the green cap on the head and the chip on the shoulder."
- Simon Barnes, 1990.

So there you have it. A list of the best sledges from bygone Ashes series. With no doubt a few more to be added over the winter from some friendly on pitch banter.

And if I may be permitted to enter into the spirit... Well, we all remember what Australia rhymes with don't we?! ;-)

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Betfair down time: Quit moaning and prepare

Daily Result: £67.75

Lost on both matches from Shanghai I got involved with today. Around £20 on the Davydenko Blake game - one of the strangest I've ever traded - and the rest on the Nadal v Robredo game. Mainly due to my deciding I'd lay Nadal at 1.0x for a lot of money near the end in the hope he'd lose a few points and I could finish nicely up on the day. He didn't, and nor did I!

During one of the games there was a "degradation in site performance" as Betfair call it and it seems many were not able to place bets through the website. It affected me in as much as the website just seemed to hang and then intermittently disappear. Service was a bit hit and miss for around 20 minutes.

Which led to the usual spate of posts on the Betfair forum about how Betfair had cost everyone so much money and how Betfair is "getting beyone a joke" as API users were still able to place bets hassle free and "pick off" the non-API users. In fact nothing less than you'd expect on a forum that appears to be increasingly filled with posts by people who have little better to do than moan.

Now don't get me wrong, service interruptions are annoying and have caused me to lose money in the past. But instead of continually moaning each time it happens surely it would be a better idea, frustrating as it is, to act to limit the impact of any future downtime like thousands of other people have already done.

Let's look at the facts for a minute. Betfair describes itself as a "software company" for good reason. In 2005 it processed more than 1 billion transactions - more than the combined number it had between 2000 and 2004. It has over 645,000 registered customers. Of which over 160,000 are active each month. It processes more transactions than most stock exchanges.

With that kind of activity going on, however annoying it is, one just has to accept that from time to time things are going to fuck up. And you might get caught in a position you don't want to be caught in. Yesterday's "degredation" wasn't even down to Betfair, but rather its ISP. Not that it really matters whose fault it was. The fact is there will never be 100% uptime. So prepare for it.

It truly staggers me that there are professional traders using Betfair, churning tens of millions of pounds, who are sat there using the Betfair website interface with a phone as their only back up. Who then start moaning that API users get an unfair advantage and are Betfair's "favourite" customers. For fuck's sake. There's plenty of free API programmes advertised on Betfair itself. Surely anyone taking out such large positions on Betfair can spare 30 seconds to download one? These free official Betfair API solutions, clearly advertised by Betfair, aren't just for "favourite" customers.

BetTrader PRO has a free trial. The Sports Trading Workstation has a complete free Starter version. Bet Angel Basic is also completely free. And can connect through either the website or the API. For big traders making tens of thousands of profit surely it's a no-brainer to have API access even if it's just as a back up for peace of mind. And I'm sure the £30 a month or so for an upgrade to the full version of each product wouldn't stretch the old budget too much either.

Failing that there is always the www2 option. How anyone can play for serious money on Betfair without being aware of this is beyond me. But it seems plenty are. Who, incidentally, never seem to moan when the API goes down and the website users "pick off" the API users. Funnily enough the API users don't moan about that either. But maybe that's because they've taken the precaution of having a website connection running in the background to the API connection, or maybe even on a different machine.

I'm sorry if it all sounds a little harsh. I do have some sympathy with people who place the odd bet, might be trying an in-running market for the first time, and get caught out by a techinical problem. But for traders who are relying on Betfair for their income who can't be bothered to do a bit of research and protect themselves a little I have much less sympathy. Of course, I realise sometimes a bet needs to be placed or cancelled immediately. I trade too. I know. But there's no reason why if either the API, or the website fails, you can't switch browsers, or mouse for a different computer in my case, and complete the transaction you wanted to with only a second or two delay.

Anyway, rant over. It just staggers me that people who regularly manage large positons on Betfair don't take the simplest of steps to help protect themselves. They may say why should they? Betfair should just work. I say be realistic. Betfair is a pretty amazing technical achievement and from time to time things will fuck up.

So why not prepare beforehand instead of moaning after? It might cost a little time. It will save some money.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rejoyce? It's hardly Spedegue!

No time to trade today which was doubly annoying as I see the ARod took a set off the Fed Express - who traded at prices up to 7.0 before staging a comeback to wrap the match up. But at least it gives me a chance to chat about Trescothick's withdrawl from the Ashes and his replacement by Ed Joyce.

First up I wish Banger a speedy recovery. England's 11th highest scorer in test match history with 5,825 runs he's going to be missed. Especially as Joyce, talented as he maybe, hasn't played a single test match yet - let alone been part of an Ashes series. I don't know the why's wherefore's or WTFs about the Trecso situation but I suspect
this article isn't too far from the truth. Sadly you do have to wonder if we'll ever again see Banger despatch another 4 through the covers off the back foot for England.

Of course, as soon as the news Trescothick was on his way home was announced attention turned to his replacement. The usual suspects were all put forward. Rob Key must have felt he was in with a shout while no doubt Owais Shah kept his mobile on.

But of all the players feeling disappointment it wasn't them that got the call perhaps Mark Ramprakash has the most to feel aggrieved about. Afterall, despite being 37, he's in the form of his life. Recently named the PCA Player of the Year he scored 2,278 1st class runs last season at an average of over 103. On top of that he smashed 292 runs in a single innings in May, before getting 301 not out in August. Oh, and he has Ashes experience and averages 42 against Australia! If ever a man was justified in thinking his England days are now behind him then Ramps is him. Still, at least his twinkled-toed moves in Strictly Come Dancing means at least someone still
appreciates him. Bless.

Which brings us to Ed Joyce. After a fantastic 2005 in which he scored 1,168 County Championship runs - more than any other player - he emerged onto the international scene in 2006 playing 3 ODIs and an international Twenty20. And although some may think he got the call up against Ireland just to ensure England could win a ODI by nicking the opponent's best player there's no doubt the Middlesex batsmen is talented.

But is he a Spedegue? Who he I hear you ask? Why, Tom Spedegue, of course! The school master called up for a deciding test match in a bygone Ashes series. An asthmatic he may have been, with a weak heart to boot, but Spedegue had a secret weapon - and ensured the Ashes remained with the Motherland after a nailbiting final test victory.

His weapon? The Spedegue Dropper! A ball that was bowled over 50ft in the air, peaking above the batsman's head before dropping directly down on to the stumps. Spedegue perfected his dropper over many years practising in the New Forest by bowling a ball over a rope tied between two 50ft trees. Plucked from the obscurity of village cricket he was the Ashes hero of his day - carried shoulder high from the field by a victorious England team and into international retirement.

Eh? You never heard of him? Oh, ok. Hands up. It's a fictional story. By no less than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. Who, it seems, between knocking out Sherlock Holmes yarns, also found the time to write a short story called Spedegue's Dropper. Not quite as strange as it may seem at first as Doyle was actually a first class cricketer who made 10 appearances for Marylebone Cricket Club!

The discovery of which all rather amused me. Because with the way the press, bookies - infact anyone you care to listen to - is going on Australia have already won the Ashes 5-0. And us English need a secret weapon like Spedegue to stop it being 6-0!! This Aussie, who has now fessed up that he was the brains behind the infamous Betfair Cricket Forum thread "New Market: Can the Poms avoid an innings defeat?" even reckons it's a "mistake to take the Poms seriously".

But, if I may be so bold, I'd like to proffer a different opinion. Ok, the Aussies may well win. But I've just got a sneaky suspicion the series will be a little more competitive than many are giving England credit for!

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Monday, November 13, 2006

When it rains it pours

Daily Result: £296.97

Hmmm. Nowhere near the most I'm prepared to lose on a single event but even spread across two separate events dropping nearly £300 is still a pretty hefty loss. However, strange as it may sound, I'm not particularly worked up about the loss. Annoyed yes but having looked through what I did today there's no real standout errors (perhaps one minor one) that I regret making. It was just one of those days that you have to deal with from time to time where a period of trading just goes horribly wrong in just about everyway it can. And then some. I like to think the trick in these circumstances is to keep control, limit the losses and not do you bollocks in. And believe it or not, at just under a £300 daily loss I think I managed it.

I got involved in two matches from the Shanghai Masters. Nadal v Blake and Davydenko v Robredo. At one stage I was £222 red the pair in the first game and £334 red the pair in the second. So from those dreadful positions a £296.97 loss on the day suddenly doesn't seem quite so bad!

I'm not going to run through each game in detail. Suffice to say I was over £200 red the pair in each match within 4/5 games. The start of each match was just awful for me. I plotted a rough price / time graph for the start of the first game. Looking at it my entry trades were at prices I was mostly happy with in situations I was mostly happy with. The problem was the exit trades. Basically a string of points would go against me and I'll bail for a loss just in time to save what I expected to be a far bigger loss. Only for a string of points to go the other way leaving my bail price looking awful. In fact, when looking at a graph I more or less caught the worst prices to bail at more than once! With hindsight it looked like the perfect example of how not to trade!!

Anyway, I accept that just as some days everything will seem to go right for you other days you'll be reminded that it never rains but pours. I used to play a lot of poker and am familiar with the concept of variance. Not especially applicable here but still worth having a think about - especially in terms of how to deal with it. I did an entry about trading psychology a while back and when I have a bad losing day I like to have a read back through it and get that Tao of Poker book I mentioned in it off the shelf which I'll be doing tonight.

So, not a great day. Especially as the irony of it all is I fancied both the winners to win. And with Blake that was a big odds against shout. But there have been losses, both bigger and smaller, that I've been more worked up about simply because I know I made mistakes or silly errors. I don't feel I did anything too wrong today but instead was more a victim of some unsual circumstances that are bound to crop up from time to time. I know it'll happen again - hopefully not too soon! - and I hope I again manage to stay disciplined when it does.

Have a long standing appointment tomorrow afternoon so will probably miss the Ljubicic v Nalbandian game which is the one I really want to have a go at. Will probably also give the first game up the Federer v Roddick one, a miss unless the ARod gets off to a good start.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Betfair betting blogs

Didn't get around to trading at all at the weekend. Seemed to spend most my time out of the house either shopping, eating or drinking. Missed the end of the WTA Championship from Madrid as a result but intend to try and make the most of this week's ATP finale from Shanghai. Got a lot of work on at the moment but am hoping to catch at least the singles matches each day to help keep the wedding funds ticking over.

Anyway, I've added some new links in the blogs section on the right so thought I'd do a quick round up of some kindred bloggers who keep Betfair blogs. A lot seem to spring up for a few weeks before dying a death - no doubt due to a losing run or the blogger finding better things to do with their time than us long-suffering saddos!

But there are some that seem to be updated regularly. The Gambler is a year in the life of a guy called John who likes his beers as much as his sport and trading. A man after my own heart he's 11 months into his year long diary and it's a good read with some interesting discussion. I for one am hoping he keeps it going into the new year.

Phil over at the Smiling Assassin has been going a while too. A man of many aliases (smiling, silent, relaxed, happy, well-paid assassin etc) there's some discussion on his wins and losses as well as lots of screenshots as visual aids to help explain everything.

More of a tipping blog than a Betfair trading one, but one I like to read anyway, is Kicking Bets written by a guy called Chris. Been going for a nearly a year. Can't find the latest results but I think he's showing a 40 something or other per cent ROI. Perhaps not the biggest from a trading perspective but I think you'll be hard pressed to find an out and out tipster with better results.

Another well worth dropping in on is One Percent a Day. There's a lot of guys who aim to simply make 1% of their bank on Betfair each day and this guy is one who keeps a blog and explains what he's been up to as well as keeping a results section. You'd be surprised how quickly your profits will grow if you can consistently grow your bank at 1% a day!! The Diary of a Football Fanatic is also an interesting read. Some thoughtful discussion as well as an ongoing trial of several football betting systems - complete with explanations, profit and loss.

So, to the new blogs. He's just changed his blogging software but David over at Wizardgold Betfair Trader seems to be the oldest of the Betfair blogs. A regularly updated review of his betting the blog also features podcasts and videocasts as well as the occasional Betfair API software review. All interesting stuff.

And one to really turn up the heat in time for the Ashes is the Anger Therapy blog. Got an email from this guy, read his blog and it's pretty clear he's an Aussie and doesn't rate the "Pom's" chances Down Under too much this winter! I've got a feeling he's the same Anger Therapy who started the infamous "New Market: Can the Poms avoid an innings defeat?" thread on the Betfair cricket forum. Although that Anger Therapy appears to have changed his forum name to La Puta it's still the longest running thread on the cricket forum. Kept alive by those who appreciate the irony of the thread title when compared to the splendid result of the last Ashes series! Still, after England's recent dismal performance against the Aussie Prime Minister's XI maybe Anger Therapy / La Puta will have the last laugh!!

Finally Damian over at D is for Discipline seems to have risen from the dead with a new look blog so I'll be keeping my eye on that too.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Tennis trading and inplay scoreboards

Daily Result: £106.23

Had some time to look in on the WTA Championships from Madrid today and keep the wedding funds ticking over. Was particularly interested in checking out the first match of the day between Mauresmo and Henin Hardenne as another free trial was being provided by Inplay Scoreboards. I discussed the benefits of the service in my post on beating the betfair clock.

Once again the service provided the score for most points fractionally ahead of television pictures. There are still obviously people ahead of the scoreboard but it is a useful tool and I'm looking forward to seeing what is provided on other sports.

Unfortunately once again there was a bug when the match went to a tie break with the users being told it was match point Mauresmo when all she'd done is win the first point of the tiebreak. That said, the company behind the service sent out an immediate email acknowledging the problem, explaining the bug was related to tie breaks, their recent effort to fix it had failed, but it would be working properly before the next trial and the real product launch next year. I don't really have a problem with that. There's no way I'm going to bet on the back of the service while it's still being trialled without pictures anyway and I accept that in what is essentially a free Beta service there will be problems that need ironing out. And to be honest it was quite refreshing to get such a frank email - makes a change from being asked to delete cookies anyway! ;-)

Did ok in the match and then looked in on the Sharapova v Kuznetsova game. Sharapova dominated the first set to such an extent that Kuznetsova won just 9 points! Ended up £100 green on Sharapova but then a clicking error (backing at 1.02 instead of laying - Doh!) left me needing her to win. She did - but not until her price had gone back out to 1.09 - at which point I bailed leaving a smaller profit in the fear that if she lost another point or two I'd have been left with an all red situation.

Had a very quick look in at the start of the Clijsters v Dementieva match but couldn't really be bothered. Not the best frame of mind to be trading with. And being Friday night there's better things to do so I greened out for a few quid after a couple of minutes and left it.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

No time to trade

Snowed under with some work at the moment so unfortunately didn't get a chance to look in on the tennis today before going out for drinks in the evening. Bit of a shame because looking at the rest of the month's trading possibilities I should really be making the most of the tennis from Madrid this week and Shanghai next week.

Anyway, for those who read my post about beating the Betfair clock you'll remember my discussing a service called InPlay Scoreboards that I had a trial of. Basically it utilises the delay between a real event and it being screened on tv and lets you know the result of a point marginally before you see it on tv. For anyone interested there is another free trial on Friday in the Mauresmo v Henin Hardenne match. The match starts at 5pm UK time.

Finally, a reformed gambler has taken the time to make quite a long post that contains some interesting ideas and raises some valid points at the bottom of
this post. I've replied to some of them but feel free to add your own views.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Quick look at the tennis

Daily Result: £18.55

Too busy today to really get going on the trading. Decided to try and sneak in one match from the WTA Championships in Madrid but ended up on the phone amid other distractions so just levelled my position out and left it. Don't even know who won the match.

Had stuff to do in the evening so the game I picked was the first one up between Kuznetsova and Dementieva. After Dementieva's performance yesterday against Sharapova it seemed the obvious choice. In the first set yesterday Dementieva managed to get 43% of her first serves in, lost it in 27 minutes, failed to hold her serve once and served up 7 double faults (16 or 17 in the match!).

With stats like that it's no surprise the words "And it's Dementieva serving for the match" are a standing joke among traders guaranteed to strike fear into even the bravest! And so it was that I traded for the service break in the her first game and Dementieva had the good grace to serve it up.

Would have liked to have had a look at the Mauresmo match after her poor performance yesterday too but just didn't have the opportunity. Busy again tomorrow, and off out in the evening, but hoping to sneak in the Henin Hardenne v Petrova match beforehand to help keep the wedding funds ticking over.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beating the Betfair clock

Daily Result: £59.29

Oh alright then. Beating the Betfair clock is a bit of a fib - that loophole was closed years ago. But if a headline about time and trading, and how you can beat the Betfair clock, interested you, then this will too. Tonight, despite being sat in comfort at home, I knew who had won each point in a tennis match before I saw it on tv. And that's got to be useful right?

When trading televised events it doesn't take a genius to work out that the pictures you're seeing "live" aren't actually live. They're a few seconds behind. A simple example is I recently watched an England football match at a friends. One room was watching on BBC1 through Sky, the other on BBC analogue. We heard the shout for a goal in the Sky room before we saw the goal. More importantly as a trading example, if you're doing a tennis match when you get to a big point you might place a trade, only to see big chunks of money hit the market a couple of seconds before yours does - even though you couldn't have submitted your bet quicker once you knew the outcome of the point.

The reason, of course, is some people are getting information quicker than others. There's a kind of hierachy. With the 5 second in running delay imposed by Betfair preventing those at the bottom of the chain having their bets picked off by those who already know the outcome.

Top of the chain are people at the events watching live and using mobile devices / landline connections. People watching local tv stations in the country of the tournament are next in line. Especially if using analogue. On a par / slightly behind there's people with their own satellite systems intercepting these signals, then there's the vast majority of people like me sat at home watching Sky Sports. Below us at the bottom of the chain you've got the people relying on internet scoreboards. (Though these can sometimes be quicker than tv pics)

Of course, it's perfectly possible to make consistent profits on Betfair watching everything on Sky. But I'm sure fortunes are being made by those at the top of the chain. And if I was younger, and without the commitments I have, I'm sure I would be in there among them trying my luck. Time and knowledge is everything when it comes to trading.

Anyway, back to tonight. How did I know who had won each point in the Henin-Hardenne v Hingis WTA Championships match before I saw it on tv? Simple. I took part in a free trial for a new service being launched next year called In Play Scoreboards. I was being told the score before it happened on tv.

Now before everyone starts counting how much money they're all going to win using it I should say the information was coming through roughly between say a split second and maybe 2 seconds before the points finished on tv. For obvious reasons there were still people ahead of me in and out of the market. And the service did have a bit of a nightmare declaring the match had been won (presumably by HH) at the end of the 2nd set tie break - when in fact Hingis had won the set and levelled the match out at 1-1. This was a trial though and maybe that can be put down to a glitch of some sort.

So the service isn't the key to untold riches. But is nevertheless useful and I could see several ways it could help optimise my own trading over time. Sure, users are still behind the big players with the quickest info but combine it with some one click trading software and it still gives an edge over the majority of traders watching tv. If for no other reason than you get your money in the queue and cancel positions quicker. So despite the glitch I'm looking forward to the next trial and hope the service is reasonably priced when it launches.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Upcoming trading events

Nothing to really trade today. Didn't fancy the Pool World Championship and haven't traded the racing for a long time. So as I'm snowed under with work at the moment it gave me a chance to catch up on keeping the tax man happy.

In fact events to trade that I'm interested in are pretty thin on the ground again at the moment. The finale of the WTA season, the WTA Tour Championship, starts tomorrow on
Eurosport. A round robin format I'll no doubt have look at it though coverage from Madrid doesn't start until late afternoon (UK time) each day.

Next week sees the equivalent ATP event from Shanghai.
Sky Sports is covering the event with matches starting around 7-8am each day. (Not quite sure why that Sky page says 11am but it's often wrong.)

Cricket wise obviously the Ashes start on November 23 with the first test match from Brisbane. Looking forward to it immensely though with the matches shown live throughout the night here I'm not sure how much time I'll spend trading the tests at least. Got to get my beauty sleep at some point!

Which means when it comes to cricket trading I might well concentrate on some other events. A one day series kicks off an Indian tour of South Africa at Johannesburg on November 19th. Not checked out if I can get that one on tv yet. On the same day the first test between Pakistan and the West Indies also starts. That's available on ARY (channel 792 on Sky) though I may wait to see what liquidity is like before signing up.

Anyway, it all means my trading focus will be pretty much on tennis for the next couple of weeks. Should be fun, and with the late afternoon start times this week, it means I'm hoping to be able to catch up with some work.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

ICC Champions Trophy final

Daily Result: £202.94

Well, the match so nearly panned out as I'd asked for in my ideal trading scenario! West Indies batted first like I'd hoped for, got off to an absolute flyer to tick that box - but then collapsed so spectacularly that no doubt even England players had a smile on their faces!

The start of this match between the West Indies and Australia was simply awesome. Some of the most enjoyable cricket I've watched for a long time. The Windies' openers, Gayle and Chanderpaul, simply dismantled the Aussie attack. Left it in pieces. Despatched the ball to the boundary and stood there waiting for the next. Lee saw 10 fly off the bat from his first over - and the carnage continued. As the innings progressed average runs scored per over went like this - 10, 7.5, 9.33, 8.75, 9.8, 9, 9, 8.12, 8.77 and so on. The match was set up to be a classic.

But then, as has often been the case with the Windies recently, it all went very wrong very quickly. In fact the collapse was every bit as stunning as the opening blitz as the Windies went from 49-0 to 138 all out in the 30th over. The final wicket coming courtesy of a run out during an aborted attempt at a suicidal single. Of course, with every collapse comes a resurgence from the fielding team. Probably best epitomised by the old man McGrath himself. Who having gone for 22 off his first two overs then returned figures for his next 5 overs of 2 wickets for 2 runs!

Trading wise I made was £50 green the pair within two overs, and had built it up to over £100 the pair a few overs later. But got caught with my hand in the cookie jar at the fall of the first wicket. I hung on to the losing trade for a while but as other wickets started to fall I got out and in the process wiped out most of the green before building it up again on the Aussies.

With 50 overs to chase 140 runs there was never any real doubt the Aussies would win - despite a couple of early wickets. Rain interrupted play leaving them a revised total of 116 from 35 overs which they duly knocked off with ease.

Which all left me with a nice win even if it was a shame that the final failed to live up to its billing - especially after such a blistering start from the Windies. A bit like the whole tournament really. Made a nice profit on it but many of the games were disappointing to watch. Even boring at the start because of the poor quality of the pitches. But there were some thrillers inbetween the dross and looking back it's been an interesting curtain raiser for the Cricket World Cup next year.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

October 2006 trading round up

Monthly Result: £1359.32

Not able to trade today so thought I'd do the monthly round up for October. Pretty good month really and the profit keeps the wedding funds ticking over nicely. I know the profit is small fry compared to many on Betfair but I don't claim to be some kind of mega trader. I trade part-time to try and cover my wedding costs, am pretty risk adverse in my methods, operate from a relatively small set bank, run my own betting related business and write on a freelance basis to provide my proper income.

Anyway, back to October's results. I got involved in 61 markets during the month, won on 45 and lost on 16. That's a far higher loss rate than usual but is accounted for by the fact that I traded several cricket matches that were either close or weather effected. Which meant I was having to take out insurance bets on minor markets that were unlikely to win but protected my green on the outright match odds markets.

Biggest win of the month was £213.86 in an ICC Champions Trophy match between New Zealand and Pakistan. Biggest loss was £184.28 in a match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the same tournament.

Among the topics I rabbited on about were the value of a stop loss, and how the poor standard of some of the pitches in the Champions Trophy was enabling potentially big wins. I also had a pop at the Free Money merchants on Betfair and offered a trading tip that can be used in the future to make a potential risk-free return.

Trading wise New Zealand showed the value of a team that pulls together over teams of star individuals. But the events of the month came courtesy of the West Indies who not only managed to get bowled out for 80 by Sri Lanka but also beat Australia and India! I've mentioned several times this month how it can be costly to underestimate the Windies in ODIs and it's perfectly possible that they'll double up their win over Australia in Sunday's final.

One thing for sure is we won't be seeing the Aussies at 1.23 before a ball is bowled this time!

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Friday, November 03, 2006

ATP Paris Masters quarter finals

Daily Result: £44.93

Busy work wise today. Lot of articles to write and nearly had a complete brain meltdown trying to get my head around RSS feeds. Sure it's perfectly simple really and I was just being a bit of a spanner. Anyway, it all meant I only had time to have a quick dip into one of the quarter finals and that was the Davydenko v Ancic match.

Been a while since I'd seen Davydenko play but today he was pretty awesome. I like Ancic as a player. Good never say die attitude. But from what I saw Davydenko was just too good for him. Especially considering Ancic was more motivated and needed the win to have any chance of qualifying for Shanghai. The Russian wrapped it up 6-3 6-3 in the end.

Elsewhere today England flew out to Australia for the Ashes. Looking forward to it. Though with the 12 hour time difference, the 4th test starting on Boxing Day and the 5th taking place while I'm on a short holiday I doubt I'll get to trade much of the series. Sure I'll have a little look at it though!

Anyway, doubt I'll get a chance to trade tomorrow. Have a shopping trip lined up and then out with friends for drinks, dinner and fireworks in the evening. Hope to be up for the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday though. The 3.75 you could get about the Windies winning the other day is long gone now. But the 3.2 currently available will be tasty from a trading perspective if they bat first and get off to a good start. And that's how I'm hoping the match pans out trading wise. Windies to bat first. Post a good competitive total. Aussies to bat well, come near to the total but just fail to make the chase!

Ah, can feel that Ashes spirit returning already!!

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back to winning ways

Daily Result: £477.25

Wow. What a difference a day can make! It seems yesterday's loss certainly sharpened the old mind. And turned round a losing start to the month into a profitable one along the way.

Made the money on the second ICC Champions Trophy semi-final between South Africa and the West Indies. Truth be told things just went my way. I tend to classify cricket matches into types - mainly along the lines of whether the batsman or bowlers are on top - and find some game types easier to trade profitably than others. Today's was a type I tend to have more success with.

The South Africans won the toss and decided to bat first. They got off to a pretty good start but their price was often too short. Throughout the innings it basically traded in the high 1.3x to mid 1.7x range. But mostly in the middle. Which meant that for large parts of their innings we had the situation where there was a virtual free lay of the Saffers. By that I mean you could comfortably lay them at, say 1.52, and know that if they continued as they were the price wouldn't be that much shorter at the end of the innings. But if they collapsed their price would shoot out. In other words it was one of those situations I'm always on the look out for. Small realistic downside but much larger potential upside.

As it was I got a little unlucky. Wickets did fall but never really close enough to cause a big drift. Umpire Simon Taufel turned down two plum LBWs near the start of the innings. If they'd been given it would have been price swing time but it wasn't to be. Which all meant that at the change of innings I had a small green either team and hadn't actually traded that much.

The Windies needed 259 to win and they were 3.0 to make it. I missed the first few balls and by the time I settled down again Chris Gayle had cracked two boundaries off the first 3 balls and the price was 2.5! All a bit annoying as I had an ask of 3.05 in the queue that wasn't matched. But it showed Gayle's intent and the next 10-12 overs were a batting exhibition which enabled a frenzy of trading as the Windies' price crashed before finally bottoming out and settling around the 1.25 mark for a while. Cracking stuff to watch and trade! When the price finally settled it felt like the calm after a storm.

Eventually Gayle and Chanderpaul put on 154 without loss before Chanderpaul retired hurt. Even despite the Windies recent history of spectacular collapses I don't think anyone really thought they'd mess up from that position and they didn't. Fittingly Chris Gayle hit the winning runs and the West Indies won by 6 wickets with 6 overs spare. Gayle's innings was awesome. 133 from 135 balls. I've said it before and I'll say it again - don't underestimate the Windies in the one day form of the game!!

Anyway, it all means we've got a fantastic final lined up between the Australians and the West Indies this Sunday. The Windies have already beaten the Aussies this tournament in a last over thriller. Hope the final is as good and wouldn't put it past them to do it again!

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bad trading leads to big loss

Daily Result: £385.15

Ouch! Bit of a shocker today. Dropping nearly £400 is an awful start to the month. Did the money on the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final between Australia and New Zealand. Which is all the more crazy as my first bet was a £1000 back of Australia - and they won at a canter!

It actually all started to go wrong the night before. I'd normally limit my backs to £500 but suspected the Australia price would shorten overnight as the Aussies woke up and had a pre-match punt (they're not allowed to bet in running online - though the dedicated find a way round it). So I took 1.37 and turned the computer off. Big mistake. I woke up in the morning, checked the price, and although it was the same it had dipped overnight. The problem was I'd forgotten to leave my lay in the system. Doh!

Things got worse when New Zealand won the toss and invited Australia to bat. I was already aware the pitch had something in it for the bowlers. It appears the proper shrewdies knew this too - to a greater extent than me - and pushed the Australia price out to around the 1.5 mark. I'd been caught on the phone, missed the early toss news and was left looking at a loss.

That's when I made my next mistake. Despite being wary of the wicket, rather than bailing from the position, I decided to let it run, hope Australia made a few quick runs and then either bail for a much smaller loss - or a profit. A plan that had gone more than just a little tits up by the time Australia had lost two wickets for 4 runs within 3 overs. Which all left me over £155 red the pair. (And also meant I didn't switch to the tennis which had been my intention.)

Unfortunately that turned out to be the start of some poor trading on my behalf - and a little bad luck too with my timing. Just one of those days where everything I touched seemed to make things worse. I should have just given up when Franklin came onto bowl something like his 4th spell. Australia had been knocking him around the park and had forced New Zealand captain Fleming to take him out of the attack. So Franklin comes on. I back OZ waiting for the anticipated run fest. And not only does Franklin get a wicket with his first ball - but the over is a maiden too. And as it was nearing the end of the innings, and Franklin got the set Hussey out, the market reacted accordingly. More red for me.

Anyway, had a substantial red either team at the innings break. Fancied Australia to win so watched the first few balls and got on them. Right move, wrong timing. New Zealand made it to 16 before a losing a wicket and I had acquired more red as the Aussie price had started drifting quickly and I'd decided to more or less leave the game alone and accept the red. New Zealand then collapsed to 35/6, and with it their price to 1.0x, which just rubbed in my poor timing. Should have made a good profit on this match. Just got it wrong.

Kept the prices up in the background and got on with some other work. Ended up getting involved again when I noticed the Oz price drifiting due to a fantastic 103 run partnership between Oram and Vettori. Managed to reduce my red either side but then got caught on the wrong side of a trade and ended up leaving it even bigger! Which just rounded off the day in the way it started really!!

So.......... a bad start to the month. Crap really. But sometimes you just have to take a loss on the chin. I know I can't win every time. Some days you'll just get everything wrong and I accept that. So rather than moping around I'll try and take some positives out of the loss. And there are some.

Firstly, I started the blog around 6 months ago and have made a profit each month so far that I'm happy with. A big loss (and I've had bigger losses since starting the blog) is always a useful reminder that this isn't just easy money. It's not just a question of turning the computer on and collecting cash. Things can go very wrong. Losses focus the mind sharply and this one will.

Secondly, and the thing I'm most pleased about, is I mantained my discipline. Kept to my bankroll and money management rules. Didn't allow the loss to go over my maximum allowable £500 - which it could have been so easy to do. The truth is if I'd deposited more money I could have simply bought my way out of trouble and ended up with a small profit on the day. The trouble with doing that is that eventually I'll end up doing my absolute bollocks in. If I'd deposited several thousand of my profit to date, put it on Australia, and then seen that 103 run partnership I'd have been bricking it! And maybe would have bailed for a far bigger loss rather than risk losing the whole lot. So bad as the loss is at least I didn't lose the plot and managed to keep the loss to a managable level.

And the third positive? Well, at least I have the rest of the month to win it back!

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